March 3, 2014

Leo Vroman, artist, poet, scientist, dies at age 98

Filed under: Art,Literature,Science by Branko Collin @ 2:58 pm

leo-vroman-self-portraitTwo weeks ago Dutch-American poet, artist and scientist Leo Vroman died at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, nu.nl reports.

Although Vroman emigrated to the US after WWII, he wrote poetry in Dutch until the very end. Somebody posted the following poem called Einde (‘The End’) to his blog after his death, a poem he wrote on 10 February (translation by me):

It probably looks less,
this lovingly gathered
pile of chips from my thoughts,
like me than like a mountain.

What then will this raging* figure
of me consist of
and where did this already late
first spark come from?

Holly Moors reviews Vroman’s book Leo Vroman Tekenaar which explores the many forms his art took. As a biologist Vroman studied the way blood works (the Vroman Effect was named after him, as Elsevier points out in its eulogy).

Nu.nl writes that in 2010 Vroman wrote his own ‘in memoriam’ for the magazine Tirade: “Will we miss him? Not easily. His books will still be lurking everywhere and his Effect is lasting.” The news site points out that in the Netherlands Vroman was best known for his poem ‘Vrede’ (‘Peace’). He won numerous literary awards (and one science award), and was named honorary citizen of Gouda in 1990.

*) Or furious, burning, blazing: the Dutch word ‘laaiende’ is often used to denote anger, but when talking about a fire it means ‘blazing’.

(Illustration: Leo Vroman, self-portrait)

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August 19, 2009

Biologist creates own ‘Streetview’ of Spitsbergen town

Filed under: Photography,Science by Branko Collin @ 7:59 am

Biologist Maarten Loonen from Groningen figured that it might take a while before the Google Streetview cars and bikes venture deep within the Arctic circle.

His solution was to whip out the old camera and make his own “street view” of Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen. The round the clock daylight currently available there undoubtedly helped make the job easier. The result is a collection of 3,000 photos, according to Bright (Dutch), and a number of videos. Biologist Loonen took a picture every 10 metres inside the village and every 30 metres outside it.

Spitsbergen, meaning Craggy Island Mountains, has a Dutch name despite being Norwegian territory because it was ‘discovered’ by Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz. He was looking for the Northern passage to the East and died trying.

(Source photos: arcticstation.nl.)

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